Frames in Motion
Album Review by Sheldon Hubbard
Trio Jack Shriner, Matt Butler, and David Solomon make up the influential vibrancy that is Seattle’s Frames in Motion. Their debut album, Euptablisses (which I swear I am still pronouncing wrong) is a powerful display of what a first album should sound like if you want people to be humming along to its tunes well after letting them sooth your ears. The multi-layered warmth of this band’s elemental sound is not only going to soothe your mind, it will bond and become friends with the little piece of soul within you that understands your fellow human.
This album is as if the melody of melodies from classic pieces of psychedelic rock were melded and shaped with indie feel-good rock. This style makes you wanna tap your toe and sway your head, and it an aesthetic that sticks with you long after listening. The entrancing harmonies drone with encouragement while the lyrics echo with a resonate coo that is reminiscent to the likes of Pink Floyd. When I finished the album for the first time all I could think about was Jack Shriner popping his head out of a corner in my mind and imitating the "Comfortably Numb" line, “Hello, hello…is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me…” it stayed that way with every subsequent cycling of the album.
The musical depth of this band had me plugging in all aspects of musical elements that I had heard before, but never quite constructed and displayed with the refreshing warmth this album induced. I listened to this album predominantly while driving because driving is one of those things where I like to feel warm and comfortable. It reminded me of sounds and feelings I have felt while listening to a variety of music: from the Killers, to the Beach Boys, and all of the upbeat music in between that expresses how it feels through its sound as much as what is said. The lyrics are a gentle, coasting ride into the realms that are the complexity of human existence. They wrap you up in the electrifying feeling that someone understands the waves and seasons that life can go through. It is all presented in many metaphorical avenues and is so catchy you know you will be adding some songs from Euptablisses to your life’s soundtrack. Some of the lyrics that stood out to me were:
“Waves of yellow and waves of green in the grass just sittin’, sittin’… as we creep up to a fast sunset, I will seek asylum in your silence, ‘cuz its quiet in my tongue and I need to yawn.” – "Quiet in My Tongue." This song made me feel particularly happy and gave me the overall message that being in love with a person is like being in love with the music. You just gotta listen and trust how the movement of it makes you feel. This song does kind of play out to an unexpected length but you can appreciate and sense the band’s will to just keep jamming until the song softly closes.
“You stole from my closet and left me broke. Left my dreams halved-and-quartered like chromosomes.” – "New South Wales." This is a short one, but it really glues to your brain like an extreme adhesive. I believe that it bites at someone for having not believed in the song’s protagonist’s dreams and left them feeling as though they were halved-and-quartered down to the chromosomes. Now if that does not give you a feeling, I don’t know what does. I love this song for its bright experimental use of what sounds to me like an old timey Arabian twang paired with the bouncy nature of a tribal drumbeat. The only qualm I have with this song is when you get to the last minute or so it acts like it’s going to end and then breaks into what feels like the intro for an entirely different song that pops to more of an alternative feel. That being said, I did like what I heard at the end it just felt a little misplaced; yet made for a bright step down from the all-encompassing mirage vibe of the Arabian twang.
“Whatever happened to you? You were my sidekick, gallivanting through the desert landscapes. Communicating only with a mind trick.” – "Eutpablisses." I don’t know if they constructed this sentence solely for the rhyme of it, but it hits a chord with me because it seems to reflect on having such a deep connection with someone that you already know what the other is going to do or say before it even happens. Who doesn’t love having that happen, am I right? The song itself sounds like an excited version of a jam-band who shared a covalent outpouring of influence from a surfer-esque groove. It is crafted to an incredible degree and mirrors what I feel is the overall feeling of the album: feel good, do good, and be good.
“I’m waking up to find my world is cut off, cut off at the window pane. The sun has lost its shine, it’s chokin’ (it’s chokin’) in a dead smoke. It’s just a day, an ordinary time; ‘cuz you’ve got a lover you can fit in your hip pocket...” – "Twilight Holly." This song seems to be about a character who inhabits the modern-day world of dating apps. This song grooves with an upbeat indie sound that seems to add the sound equivalent of a wink; inserting the societal assertion that you can have a date emerge from the phone within one’s pocket. It appears to be very reflective of a character who does not mind maneuvering through single-life, especially in a day-and-age where it is more of a normality.
“Trailing into space, dolphin sonar in the ocean – a form that’s taking shape, a form that’s taking shape.” – "Behind the Face." This is another one of those lyrics that present a strong metaphor in regards to how sound can communicate one’s feelings. Dolphins use sonar to see objects from far distances while traveling through the ocean’s massive amounts of water. When you make music, you make a sound that presents an energetic imprint through the air that can take shape in relation to how the song makes the listener feel. The lyrics tell you the movements that the instrumentation is trying to induce and makes you feel like you are floating through space with the song. I love the line, “a form that’s taking shape” because I feel like it is an exuberant play on the band’s name.
It is my firm belief that if you find yourself humming it, you can forever remember the tune and how it made you feel. This album will not be leaving my current rotation of music for a while. If you are a sucker for lyrical metaphors that are as meaningful as they are catchy, don’t skimp on paying attention to what is being said while the instrumentation takes you on a journey in and of itself. A multitude of rousing compositions construct the entity that is this stunning indie triad. Navigated by the same soul that has driven some of the best sounds to ever live in the dimensions of folk, psychedelia, prog-rock, and indie rock jam sessions…you will not want to miss out on this fabulous debut from Frames in Motion. Euptablisses came out April 12, 2019 – go take a listen share in the love and originality that this album exudes. It is rooted with a bursting eloquence; a radiant garden of sounds that you can tell was planted and well taken care of with a loving seed of respect for how music affects the way you think and the way it makes you feel.